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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
In light of all the economic uncertainty we’ve experienced since the start of the global financial crisis, it’s not surprising that many investors, particularly those close to or in retirement, are settling for low-risk options for their retirement savings. It’s one of the main reasons we’ve seen such a large transfer of money from shares to term deposits and savings accounts in recent years.
This strategy may less attractive following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (
recent cut to the official cash rate.
RBA’s rate cut of 0.50%, investors are likely to
see reduced returns from their term deposits and cash savings over the coming
months, and potentially longer. This is likely to concern many investors, particularly those who are relying on their
money to fund a retirement that could last up to thirty years or more.
The main issue for cash investors, as interest rates reduce, is that their money becomes less effective at protecting against inflation.
Term deposits and cash savings generally don’t keep up with inflation over time, so the purchasing power of your money could reduce. This might mean that you don’t end up with the money you need to achieve your financial goals.
For that, you generally need some exposure to growth assets such as property and shares. While they are more volatile than cash, they offer the potential for higher returns over the long term.
Often investors have this perception that investing in growth assets is inherently risky, but these days there are investment options that allow cautious investors to earn competitive returns, yet still be well-placed to take advantage of opportunities that arise as markets recover.
For example, many superannuation funds offer a viable alternative to term deposits in the form of conservative investment options. Importantly, your money remains within the superannuation environment, which is a tax effective way of saving for retirement.
By investing conservatively through superannuation or your pension you get the safety you’re looking for as well as a tax-effective return. Superannuation earnings are taxed at a maximum of 15% and earnings on pension assets are tax free.
Of course, super is only suitable for retirement savings as your money cannot be accessed until you meet a condition of release such as permanent retirement, but there are also non-super options.
Other conservative investment options can include defensive share funds that target high regular income with lower volatility than the overall sharemarket. This approach helps to provide better capital protection should the sharemarket fall.
These options may be welcome news for investors who are concerned about volatility but keen to get more out of their investments. Everyone’s situation is different so it’s important to get financial advice that’s relevant to your specific needs and objectives.
Ultimately, the right strategy will come down to how much money you need to enjoy your retirement, how long you have to invest it and how much risk you are willing to take. A financial adviser can help you understand the various strategies available to reduce the impact of volatility whilst still focusing on growth opportunities and quality returns.
For further information contact Hugh Kilpatrick from RIadvice-RetireInvest on 03 94671 0080.
*Hugh Kilpatrick is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Limited
001 774 125, AFSL 238429. This editorial does not consider your personal
circumstances and is of a general nature only. You must not act on the
information provided without first obtaining professional financial advice
specific to your circumstances.
Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) are rapidly becoming the vehicle of choice for many who want more control over how their retirement savings are invested, but given the economic uncertainty we’ve experienced since the start of the global financial crisis, it’s understandable that many SMSF members are opting to stay in cash investments.
By the end of the 2011 financial year the self managed super sector had ballooned to 456,000 funds with 867,000 members and $418 billion in assets. Contributions amount to nearly $35 billion a year, making it the fastest growing sector of the Australian superannuation industry, with almost double the growth in assets of the industry as a whole.1.
This phenomenal growth reflects the attraction SMSFs hold for many business owners and income earners. The concept of having greater control over decisions and investment choices may strike a chord with those who want to take a proactive interest in their future prosperity; however an SMSF may not be a suitable solution for everybody.
With greater freedom comes greater responsibility and there are administrative and compliance demands when running a fund and as an SMSF trustee you must keep up to date with the rules and regulations affecting super and importantly develop a sound investment strategy to suit your needs. Interestingly, the desire for greater choice and freedom over investment strategy seems to be contradicted by a heavy weighting of SMSF investments in cash.
Over 60% of all SMSF assets are directly invested in the narrow confine of either Australian listed shares or cash and term deposits.1.
Any investment must be consistent with your fund's written investment strategy and while troubled investment markets in recent years may have driven many to seek the security that cash investments offer, it may be a good time to start questioning the wisdom of that approach.
rate cut of 0.50% means that funds held in cash investments and term deposits,
are likely to have reduced returns. This should be of
concern to SMSF investors who are relying on their money to fund a retirement
that could last up to thirty years or more. As interest rates reduce, their
money becomes less effective at protecting against inflation.
There will always be a place to have some proportion retained in the cash and fixed interest sectors, but the recent interest movements should be sending a strong signal for SMSF investors to reconsider their position.
These days there are investment options that allow cautious investors to earn competitive returns, yet still be well-placed to take advantage of opportunities that arise as markets recover.
Ultimately, the right investment strategy will come down to how much you need, how long you have to invest and how much risk you believe suits you - so it’s important to get financial advice that’s relevant to your specific needs, objectives and investment timeframes.
If you have an SMSF, now is an ideal time to speak to your adviser about how you can take full advantage of the freedom you have to be creative with your investment strategy within your fund.
For further information, or to speak to an Adviser, contact Hugh Kilpatrick* from RIadvice-RetireInvest on 03 9471 0080.
*Hugh Kilpatrick is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Limited (
23 001 774 125), Australian Financial Services Licence 238429. This editorial
does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. You
should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional
financial advice specific to your circumstances.
1.Australian Tax Office - Self-managed superannuation funds: A statistical overview 2009-10, April 2012